Karen Kadish  //  10/9/18  //  Daily Update


Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court on Saturday, in a remarkably close vote in the Senate. President Trump says that he does not plan to remove Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, saying “I actually have a good relationship other than there’s been no collusion.” A Trump campaign official sought information on how to create fake social-media profiles and use social-media manipulation to help win the 2016 presidential election. Changes on the DOJ website show a shift towards a punitive approach toward juveniles. New DOJ indictments against Russian officials show the connection between international sports and the Russian government’s strategic objectives in asserting national power.

 

SUPREME COURT APPOINTMENT OF BRETT KAVANAUGH

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court on Saturday, in a remarkably close vote in the Senate (WSJ; NYT; WaPo; LA Times).

  • The Kavanaugh hearings and ultimately his confirmation taint notions of judicial independence and the Supreme Court’s non-partisan reputation, write Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Huq at Take Care Blog.
  • There is a more general concern that the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh will impact the perceived legitimacy of the Supreme Court, especially because of the massive protests against Kavanaugh’s appointment (NYT; WSJ; WaPo).
  • Some of the partisan politics regarding Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination was directed at the FBI investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct that were levied against Mr. Kavanaugh (WaPo).
  • Many members of the legal community, including over 2,400 law professors, have spoken out against Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment (NYT; Balkinization).
  • Democrats are now considering what political moves they can take in response to Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation (Slate; NBC; NYT).
  • Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment and the allegations from his past are part of a larger story of power, influence, and the political capital needed to attain a Supreme Court position, write Marc Fisher, Ann E. Marimow, and Michael Kranish at The Washington Post.

 

TRUMP: INVESTIGATION AND LITIGATION

President Trump says that he does not plan to remove Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, saying “I actually have a good relationship other than there’s been no collusion.” (NYT).

 

IMMIGRATION

A district court issued an injunction stopping the Trump Administration’s termination of Temporary Protected Status for immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan (Immigration Prof Blog).

 

CIVIL RIGHTS

Changes on the DOJ website show a shift towards a punitive approach toward juveniles, writes Jon Campbell at Sunlight Foundation.

 

DEMOCRACY 

A Trump campaign official sought information on how to create fake social-media profiles and use social-media manipulation to help win the 2016 presidential election, report Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman, David D. Kirkpatrick, and Maggie Haberman at The New York Times.

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY

New DOJ indictments against Russian officials show the connection between international sports and the Russian government’s strategic objectives in asserting national power, writes Megan Reiss at Lawfare.

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence gave a 40-minute speech criticizing China for a host of political, economic, and human-rights infractions. This speech is indicative of the tension between the Trump administration and the Chinese government (WSJ). 

There was also a public confrontation between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing, with Foreign Minister Wang accusing the United States of escalating trade friction and unjustifiably criticizing Chinese policies (WSJ).

South Korean foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha spoke about South Korea’s perspective on North Korean negotiations, the role of the United States in North Korean denuclearization, and South Korea’s hopes with regards to the relationship between North and South Korea (WaPo).

 


Daily Update | October 17, 2018

10/17/18  //  Daily Update

The Trump administration has falsely and dangerously connected immigration to terrorism in promoting policies. President Trump threatened to cut aid to Honduras unless a group of migrants fleeing violence are stopped and returned to the country. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was sent to Saudi Arabia to speak with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid ongoing concerns over the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Rejecting an industry challenge, a D.C. Circuit Court judge allowed an Obama-era student loan protection for graduates of for-profit colleges to go into effect. DHS’s intelligence assessment reported that the volume of attempted cyber-attacks on election systems in 2018 has been growing, but some argue this may reflect improved reporting and sharing between governments, rather than an “uptick in activity.” President Trump criticized Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, for raising interest rates too fast, referring to the bank as his “biggest threat.”

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | October 16, 2018

10/16/18  //  Daily Update

The “Watergate Road Map” will be largely unsealed after a lawsuit, improving public understanding a potential report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. With the midterms less than a month away, federal agencies have not yet finalized plans for countering foreign interference in the 2018 election. The Department of Homeland Security has noted an increasing number of attempts to hack US election systems in the leadup to the midterms, but all attacks have been unsuccessful. Despite his ongoing rhetorical conflicts with President Trump, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has reshaped the military. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulation that would require the agency to use only publicly available data in cost-benefit analysis is a boon for transparency and scientific rigor.

Daily Update | October 15, 2018

10/15/18  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration is considering instituting a new family separation policy at the border. West Virginia plans to allow overseas and military voters to cast ballots remotely using a smartphone app, stoking concerns among cybersecurity and election integrity advocates. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s family has received millions of dollars in no-bid and other federal contracts “based on a dubious claim of Native American identity by McCarthy’s brother-in-law.” Jared Kushner appears to have paid almost no federal income taxes over the past decade, taking advantage of preferential provisions in the tax code that advantage real-estate developers. The Senate confirmed fifteen federal judicial nominees as part of a deal to allow senators to spend the remainder of the midterm election season campaigning. The EPA disbanded two outside expert panels tasked with advising the agency on limiting harmful emissions of soot and smog-forming pollutants.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School